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Wellness Wednesday: Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution with S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Can you believe that we are already six days into the New Year? Time to check-in and see how those New Year’s resolutions are coming.

For some, you are kicking butt and highly motivated. You are in the gym training with use of resistance and cardiovascular machines a few days a week or more. You are chugging water gulp for gulp. And for others, not so much. Either way, it is important to set goals that are smart so that you can continue to be successful or so that you can get back on board with this “New Year to a New You”.

The method I am about to introduce works whether your goal is in respect to fitness, nutrition, business, or life in general and is called S.M.A.R.T. Goal-Setting. The acronym stands for: specific, measurable, attainable (or achievable), realistic and time-oriented. Creating a S.M.A.R.T. goal is one of the keys to successfully achieving your New Year’s resolution.

Nonetheless, a S.M.A.R.T. goal must be an important enough goal to you that you will want to take the necessary actions to achieve it. Read further to see if your goal is a S.M.A.R.T. goal. If it is, you are well on your way to making this year your year. If not, you will be set after reading the below-mentioned suggestions.

Before you start reading, be sure to get out a notebook in order to create your S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Specific: Your goal should target a specific behavior with use of a detailed plan. For example, what exactly do you hope to achieve? Don’t be vague with the answer “I want to lose weight”. Use the six “W” questions to create a specific goal: Who is involved? What do I hope to accomplish? Where do I hope to accomplish this? Which requirements and constraints might I face? Why do I want to do this? (I always find the “why” to be most important.)

NOTE: Please note that proper planning is crucial to success. Always have a plan for what you are going to do in regard to nutrition, fitness, and so forth.

Measurable: Now that you know what you want to achieve, you need to know how you will measure it in order to declare that you have achieved your goal. Having no way to measure the goal means that you have no way of knowing if you achieved your goal or not. Thus, you must be able to quantify your goal in some manner so that you can measure your progress. Having quantifiable measurements will help you stay on the right track to success.

NOTE: Keep a journal to keep track of your progress. When we don’t assess or track what we have done, we often lose motivation because we feel we are not making progress. This is why I track before and after photos of clients, obtain biweekly measurements, and track all workouts in regard to sets, repetitions, weights, attitude, and how life in general is going for them. As the famous saying goes, “if we are not assessing, we are just guessing”.

Achievable (or Action-Oriented): A S.M.A.R.T. goal is goal which you have the ability to achieve with use of your resources. This simply means that it shouldn’t be too difficult or too impractical. If your goal is too impractical, you are setting yourself up for failure. You must be able to feel confident and certain that your goal is indeed achievable with use of your available resources. 

Realistic: In addition, your goal also has to be realistic in a manner that is challenging but you can achieve it. You are the only one who can decide this.

Time-Oriented: Lastly, a S.M.A.R.T. goal should have a time frame. When there is no evidence of a time frame, then there is no sense of urgency. No sense of urgency, means a lot of procrastination and we would never get around to your goal. If your goal is a large goal, be sure to set smaller goals and a time frame for each of those.

Remember, a S.M.A.R.T. goal is one that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-oriented.

As always, feel free to comment below or contact me with any specific fitness, nutrition, and / or wellness questions.

- Joshua Reed is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is the owner of Reed’s Wellness and Fitness Training. He currently operates a small space in Ludlow, Kentucky and travels to see clients in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area. He offers both personal, online, and small group training from his location, the client’s home, and/or outdoors. He is a 2012 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Adult Fitness and Wellness Management. Joshua currently attends the University of Kentucky, where he is earning a Master’s degree in Biomechanics with a concentration in running mechanics and injury prevention. You can reach Joshua via e-mail at [email protected] or on Facebook.